Chapter 6

Chapter 6

A Chapter by Isemay

The half-elf was a thief. If Olthon was still alive he would be mortified. Vezar couldn’t stop smiling looking at her.

“What house do you hold to?” Human nobility often swept up the half-elves that didn’t choose to stay with their kin in the east.

The half-elf grinned at him, there was a pleasing viciousness to the curve of her lips that he found charming, “Clan Hammersworn. Batran Hammersworn bought me off of the headsman’s block. I’ve more than paid him back but I’m fond of the man and glad to belong to his clan.”

Vezar was grateful she couldn’t see his face. Dwarves. Why would this delicate creature associate with dwarves? “Things… have changed.” Even gratitude had its limits, sparing her from the block must have earned the dwarf a great deal of it.

“From the antique locks, I imagine you were in there awhile.” Her eyes raked over him making him feel unpleasantly aware of his appearance.

His name should bring to mind richer things, and, if enough time had passed, perhaps his misdeeds had been forgotten. Wealth was a memory that lasted. “Tell me, do you know me?”

“No, they call this place the Nameless, and I was told there was evil inside it, but beyond that.” Her dismissive shrug was irritating but her complete lack of fear was captivating.

“And you came in without fear?” He almost added that nameless evil is the sort of thing wiser people avoided, it almost seemed she heard the words he didn’t say.

Her reply was almost defensive. “I came in because I had a job to do. Kaddal took it and begged me to help. I said yes. Stupidly. If I’d known I’d be working for a lich I’d have never agreed.” He watched her shudder.

She’s afraid of and disgusted by a lich but not by me. “The lich wants the amulet.” He couldn’t hide his amusement. The amulet itself would be worthless, useless. The lich wanted him set free for some purpose.

“Yes. The crown I took on my own, that was just too pretty to leave.” The look she gave him, waiting for him to show his fury as she carefully brought up stealing his crown… he began to laugh.

If she was concerned he could ease that quickly enough and get part of what he needed from her in the process. “Help me remove the mask and call me by my name and I will let you keep it.”

“That seems more than fair.” Her nod and grin told him she believed she was getting the better end of the bargain. “You’ll have to tell me what your name is first, though.”

“Vezar Edra, the Undying.” He spoke his name with pride, waiting to see her reaction. Perhaps she would even kneel, a king without a throne is still a king.

“Vezar Edra, the Undying, let’s get that mask off of you.” Her mischievous grin was not the reaction he wanted, “Batran won’t know what to do with himself if I bring him something he doesn’t have to hide.”

It was a struggle not to let his shoulders slump. She didn’t know his name. He was a king. He sat with his disappointment and displeasure as she tried to take the mask off with her bare hands. Vezar wasn’t entirely certain it was possible to take it off that way. He almost opened his mouth to say so when it began to come free. Only someone of Olthon’s line would be able to remove the mask, and now that she had spoken his name and removed it, it could not be used against him again.

He beamed at her as it came off, “What is your name, thief of Clan Hammersworn?” Now he needed her to give her name, and he would be able to bind her.

“Syreilla.” She pursed her lips. “Please don’t take this the wrong way Vezar, but you might want to keep a mask on. You might be undying but someone forgot to tell your face that.”

The audacity! He opened his mouth to chide her but then began to laugh. She would be an entertaining companion. He needed the rest of her name. “Syreilla, your mother gave you no other name?”

“She did. She thought she could make my father recognize me by giving me his name. But I’d rather eat my tongue than be called by it.” Her eyes hardened and the smile she gave him was an icy imitation of amusement.

“Elves used to be more accepting of their half-human offspring.” She was going to try to make it a challenge. Vezar wondered if she could read his anticipation.

“I don’t know anything about that. All I know is they’re not fond of humans or dwarves, but they can’t stand half-elves. The feeling is generally mutual.” The pain of rejection was clear on her lovely face, as was her loathing of elves. They had wounded her, and she longed to wound them back. It explained a great deal of her seeming affinity for dwarves.

Remembering that her friend was a half-dwarf, he inquired, “Dwarves embrace half-dwarves?”

Syreilla nodded and he thought she looked jealous. “Batran’s mother is a half-dwarf, there’s quite a few in Delver’s Deep. Despite having me in his family he’s well respected.” Her pride was clear in the tilt of her chin and the smile gracing her lips. “Partly because I’m in his family he’s rather wealthy. That helps, I think. He’s even been trying to marry me off to a Kaduil Hardjaw.” The suggestion that she might marry a dwarf, even a half-dwarf, appalled him. She seemed to misread his expression and tried to explain, “The man is skilled and Batran wants him in the clan, he doesn’t belong to one yet since his mother raised him among the humans for the most part.”

Shaking his head, Vezar tried to express his surprise without sharing his disgust. “Wife. You and a half-dwarf.”

The half-elf began to laugh, when she laughed she looked and sounded like pure joy. “I’m not the stay in the mine type. Kaduil needs that. He wants a wife he can see every day. I’m fond of him, but…” Her smile betrayed her longing to be what this Kaduil needed, it was like a knife twisting in his belly.

“Things have changed indeed.” How could such a lovely creature desire a dwarf? If he could stay with her long enough to get all of her name he could bind her and prevent such an unnatural pairing. “Allow me to travel with you, I would see this new world at the side of someone who doesn’t fear me.” She should be at the side of a king.

She looked at him dubiously, it was obvious that his appearance disturbed her. The lovely creature would talk and laugh with him but the thought of traveling with him offended her sensibilities. “My appearance troubles you?”

He watched the way her head tilted, “It’ll cause problems, whether you’re traveling with me or not.” The realization that she was concerned for safety, not vanity, was pleasing.

“Ah. I can,” he paused not wanting to explain fully, “alter it, but there are things I require. Is there a town nearby?” He would need to leave her here alone. Watching him refresh himself would make her run from him. Vezar needed to have her bound before he allowed her to see.

“A couple hours ride. I can show you.” Her helpfulness was sweet, but he needed her to stay.

“Point me in the right direction, Syreilla. I can find my way. I will return with a cart for us, and your friend.” He smiled at her and saw her wince.

“I’m more than certain someone is going to try to kill you looking like that, Vezar. I should go with you to make sure no one cuts you up and sets you on fire. You look like kindling.” She was so earnest!

His laughter spilled from him unstoppably, she had spoken his name and called him Undying but she seemed not to understand what that meant. “My dear Syreilla, they have tried. Stay with your friend. I will return for you.” She would argue more, he knew it and waited for it with relish.

“At least take a knife.” She drew her boot knife and offered it to him. The look on her face told him if he refused it she would be trailing him to the village.

The small slim blade could scarcely be called a knife. “This is barely a knife, Syreilla.” She expected this to be protection? A thought crossed his mind, perhaps her ignorance was feigned. Perhaps she knew that his death had been foretold by a weapon of his own hand. He’d been careful to destroy every weapon he’d ever used after that.

“It cuts, and if you know what you’re doing you can kill with it. What more do you need?” She crossed her arms and looked deeply insulted. It was difficult to judge if she knew of the foretelling or not but her affront at his words seemed genuine.

“Thank you, Syreilla. I did not mean to insult your knife.” Vezar offered placatingly.

Her sharp look was amusing. “Come on, I’ll show you the track.” Syreilla pointed out a barely traveled forest track. It would meet a narrow road she promised and he simply had to follow it. Vezar set out confidently. He had not yet come to the road when a rider with a short-handled shovel strapped to his saddle rode into view.

Stepping immediately out of sight behind a tree he waited. In the dark, the rider hadn’t been observant enough to catch sight of him and he was unprepared when Vezar grabbed him and heaved himself up behind the rider. Clamping a hand over the man’s mouth he gouged his fingers into one of the man’s eyes and began to consume him as the horse sidestepped and turned to run home in fear, bucking and twisting.

Vezar held tightly to the animal with his legs. He would break its ribs before it managed to throw him off. The feeling of life flowing into him was heady. The rider was a limp husk in a matter of moments. He needed more. The horse would take him to the village, he was sure. And there he would have a feast like he had never had.

Tossing the husk away into the trees he took a better seat in the saddle and brought the horse under control. He rode eagerly down the track. When he was whole and filled with life again, Syreilla would see him differently. He would have her bound soon enough.

Riding into the village, it was asleep. Vezar realized the rider had chosen a strange time to visit his prison. Perhaps he didn’t wish the villagers to know he was going at all. Dismounting he let the horse walk back to its owner's home, the inn and tavern. The broken crown on the tavern’s sign infuriated him. They had struck his name from memory but not his defeat.

Entering the tavern he began with the slumbering drunk beneath the table. In a back room, he found a woman lying in a double bed. She woke before he reached her and muttered sleepily, “Did you bury the dwarf, Ened? Was the half-elf somewhere you could reach her?”

Settling on the bed, Vezar spoke quietly, “No, he did not. Do you know the half-elf well?”

“Ened?” She sat up and fumbled for the lamp.

“Do not. You will not like what you see, child.” He watched as she stopped and shuddered.

“Where is Ened?”

“Ened will not return. But I will allow you to live if you can tell me of the half-elf. Do you know her?”

The woman was trembling tearfully. “She’s-she’s not very nice. She likes mead and she eats like a human, elves won’t touch sausage or stew. She said I should listen carefully next time I meet elves I would see they’re vicious.” There was a pause as the woman thought. “The lich she worked for, she hates, she called him a hooded wretch.”

He laughed softly. “Rise and gather food and drink for her. If you have any decent wine I would like a bottle for myself, child. I have missed the taste.” Vezar lit her lamp and smiled as the woman clapped her hands over her mouth in horror. “If you run before you have done as I ask I will hunt you down and consume you. You may scream if you wish and bring the rest of them to me. It will make my work lighter.”

He thought for a moment she might be ill. Vezar was disappointed when she rose silently and began to prepare the requested items, gathering them on the tavern bar. Dismissing her with a wave of his hand, suddenly thought better of it. “Who would have a cart and box capable of ferrying a dead dwarf back to his home?”

“The-the smith will know.” She shook her head helplessly.

He waved his hand again and she nearly bolted from the tavern. The upstairs was hardly worth the time spent looking, only one room was occupied. Going house to house would be an annoyance but he would do what he must. As he stepped out he was greeted by a handful of men. The tavern girl had served him a meal after all. The smile he allowed himself made the men flinch back.

The fight was short and ugly. In his hunger, he consumed them quickly, not taking the time to savor them. The only complaint he had was that he now had to hunt for the cart and box himself. But it would let him look for more villagers to consume as he did, and perhaps some clothing.

There was no undertaker that he could find, but a long enough box for a dwarf was half filled with furs, undoubtedly to be taken and sold somewhere more civilized. A hammer and a handful of nails lay nearby and he tossed them into the emptied box. Having the box and cart, he returned for the food and drink. Syreilla would be pleased.

© 2017 Isemay

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Added on December 26, 2017
Last Updated on December 31, 2017
Tags: thief, dwarf, elf, dragon, gods




Bitten by a writing bug! Review my writing and I will gladly return the favor! I love reading other people's stories, and I try to review honestly and give constructive criticism. I love receivi.. more..

Chapter 1 Chapter 1

A Chapter by Isemay

Chapter 2 Chapter 2

A Chapter by Isemay

Chapter 3 Chapter 3

A Chapter by Isemay